Following The Followers

“Follow us on Facebook”

Sure, oh wait, why exactly? Has anyone noticed the spate of “follow us” and “Find me on” signs popping up in your local shopping spots? Followers Following The FollowersWell I have. These little hints at a social media presence are appearing everywhere as tiny interruptions to our daily lives. I’ve got no problem with small business getting social, in fact I’m all for it… My only beef is the way they are going about it. It almost an afterthought, a knee-jerk reaction to the explosion of social media as a marketing platform.

I can see the temptation – It’s free.  Everyone is doing it – no-one wants to be left behind! But do these guys really know what they’re doing it for? What are they trying to achieve to by slapping a tacky word-art sign on top of the bargain bin beside the counter? Aside from the ego boosting number of fans of followers they get, what success metrics are being employed? Have they considered how to integrate social media into other marketing activities (if indeed it is actually a good fit with their brand)? Who are they targeting? Do these people even connect with brands like theirs on Facebook/Twitter? Think they can answer any of these questions? I doubt it – so why even bother?

If you’re not Coke, Adidas or Nokia you probably aren’t big enough to follow by default unless you give people a reason. It isn’t by accident these big brands get massive followings online; they spend millions on advertising to create an aura around their brand. If they don’t already have that “cool” image they create it by running an awesome promotion. They also take their social branding seriously. Click on any of the brand names above to see the slick Facebook landing pages they’ve constructed. The thing is you don’t actually need the million $ budget to achieve this look (just read Sam’s latest post).

So why should you and I follow local retailers on Facebook?  The answer should be because they’re going to tell us things we don’t already hear from them (in mass media). On top of that they’re going to give us the opportunity to improve their service to us by listening to our suggestions and opinions. Here’s my advice: Don’t just do it because it seems like a good idea, do it for a reason; then thnk about the following:

  1. Make a plan like you would any other marketing campaign (if you don’t plan for other campaigns then you have little chance of success in this space anyway so keep cruising along with your head in the clouds).
  2. Make your page worth visiting by posting vids and pics, running promotions, and starting discussions; just have stuff going on.
  3. Be genuine. Connect with the people that are actively contributing and  making your page come to life.
  4. PLEASE get rid of those budget “follow us”  signs from inside your store.  Just ask people at the check-out to have a look at your social sites. After all, isn’t it about making personal connections?
  5. Feel free to contact us if would like to have a chat about making you social sites really stand-out.

5 Responses to “Following The Followers”

  1. Anonymous →
    November 25, 2010 at 2:51 am #

    Great post Andy. Give me Moore!
    I forgot how much your writing style engages me – respect man!
    Also you raise some good points here, but I think you need to enhance your call to action.
    Dont make ‘contacting iThnk’ an option, make it the ONLY CHOICE!

    Rock on brother man, or as they say in the land of the long white cloud… SWEET AS BREW!

    • Andy Moore
      December 1, 2010 at 7:43 am #

      Thanks Alex – always appreciate some solid positive reinforcement. Next time I’ll open with CONTACT iThnk NOW OR ELSE!!! in bold letters – what do ya think? too aggressive? Maybe.

      Cheers heaps Brew!

      P.S congrats on winning the TechnShare guest post comp- I’m reading all about it now.

  2. Daniel Snyder
    November 25, 2010 at 5:57 am #

    Interesting thoughts. Honestly I’m not going to follow too many local retailers, I’ve tried this in the past and have yet to run into one local retailer that can manage a social media account properly or offer what you’re talking about in this post. Like you say, the vast majority are just jumping on the social media bandwagon because it sounds like something they are supposed to do.

    • Andy Moore
      December 1, 2010 at 7:32 am #

      Hey Daniel, glad to hear I’m not alone on this one! The thing is, it would be so easy for some of these local retailers to improve customer loyalty by just putting a little more thought into their social media presence. I guess all the half-assed attempts help those doing it well stand-out so maybe I should just be quiet.

      • Daniel Snyder
        December 2, 2010 at 4:29 am #

        No you are right – someone needs to teach these people the basics. Where’s social marketing for dummies?